Posts Tagged Flick Sparrow

The House of Bastardy.

Location:The Great and Glorious Embassy of the Khutan Empire.

Iswann, The Bastard as the locals called him, contemplated the state of his affairs. He was sat one of the many reception rooms in the Great Embassy of Khutan. He eyed the remains of the lavish breakfast he’d consumed and considered the merits of another round. It had been some time since he’d spoken to Antiva, the Monk-priest and he felt good about that. Oh, they’d resolved their differences after the falling out they’d had when investigating the mansion after they’d banished the mad Frog Priest Spune. Antiva had much more invested in the ways of the Old Country then he had. He was obsessed with this search for some long lost power – the arcane ruled his life and that wasn’t high on Iswann’s agenda.

Iswann, in contrast had been the Bastard in residence in Lankhmar for so long now, and the official duties of Bastardy were so esoteric and light that privately he felt very little loyalty to the Empire any more. Of course he never gave Voice to these thoughts but no one in the Embassy would have dared batter an eye-lid if he did.

He was more interested in the family business and getting the Swordsmans’ Guild back into the state it deserved to be. For this he needed pots of cash – really pits of cash. That’s where the Jade Gluditch of Solitude came in. Or rather it didn’t because fuck knows where it was.

He really couldn’t recall all the finer details of how it fell into their possession and why Burli was entrusted with keeping it. It was something they’d got from the Dough Magnate – Pilsbury. They had made substantial money out of saving the city and getting the Jeweller back to safety. However the real deal breaker, and what could get the Guild and his personal estate back into the black that his mother insisted he sorted out was by selling off that Artifact. Problem was – no one would touch it with a barge pole. Then Burli had been robbed. Then he’d been charged with manslaughter in the first degree in passionate flagrantly – or whatever it was the lawyers were calling it today. And just to kick them firmly in the teeth – the Last Princess of the Cold Wastes – stone-cold fucking dead. He threw a dagger into the wall disconsolately as a passing minion tidied up around his largesse. Of course the minion didnt speak – they were trained not to. Nor did she show any outrage or reaction to his outburst. They all knew better than that. She just silently plucked the dagger from the priceless stucco-decorated wall, popped it onto the tray to return with the other things and made a mental note to inform Gregorious of the need to hire the famed Artist to come and re-do the face of the Third Inglorious Bastard. Again.

He toyed with his cream-cheese bagel as the minion cleared things away. He stared for a moment at the smoked salmon on his fork. Fish. Fishing. It rang a bell. The fisherman and that hedge-witch type. He struggled to recall their names. Amberrh had sensibly left Lankhmar to lie low and keep a low profile. Burli had gone with. They’d got caught up with some Marshlanders. Ironically this escapade had brought them back to the city. Antiva had been involved – somehow. So the princess ended up being in danger again. It made his head spin. His thoughts turned to the death of Grendowynn. Now the death of the princess. The Bastards were infamous instigators of mass death – well, his great, great grandfather Tehrwann was the last Bastard to raise the Warrior-Caste into battle.

His eyes fell on the dramatic painting that depicted the Almighty Destruction of the Gerhun. No Gerhun lived it was said. The wrath of the Caste had been such that the battlefield was impervious to life and remained so to this present day. The desert of death as it is known now, the tenuous transcendental inter-planar junction to the after-life. So many had been sent to their deaths (so the record-keeping caste told him) that a bridge direct to the underworld had to be built by the Magus. Problem was he never quite figured out how to dismantle it afterwards. Another thought tickled him but he pushed it away as sheet insanity.

Oh there’d been skirmishes since then, all presided over by the Bastardy. None as great as his ancestors. When that fateful day he ascended the Endless Stair to meet with the God-Emperor, and in doing so was appointed the task of the office of Bastardy his mother had been insufferably proud. Auspicious she’d called it to have two of their line in such a prestigious role.

What had it brought them? A posting to the Heathen Lands. Banished to this forsaken pit of seething villainy. How he loved it. Everything he could do to prolong the need for the Empire to have the Embassy at Lankhmar was justifiable to Iswann. Even if that meant arranging for the Last Ambassador to have an untimely accident. Well those reports he wanted to send – sedition! Recommendations for the cessation of political indemnity. Insufferable!

His fingers stroked the Writ of Legal summons. Once the seal was broken you were magico-legally bound to appear before the issuer. This was heavy stuff. Shame he’d not undertaken to open it. But then he had no need to. The Emissary had invited him anyway. So he could appear and not be bound by the magical imperative and hear out the evidence that Burli’s defence lawyer required for the hearing.

Maybe he had the opportunity of getting Burli off the hook without recourse to strong-arm diplomacy. Perhaps he could find out if the Emissary had encountered the Artifact. If so, there was a chance to at least tie up that loose end if nothing else. In the meantime perhaps it wouldn’t hurt to see if he could locate the Hedge-Witch and the Huntsman. Maybe they could e d value after all. They’d been partly responsible for bringing the Princess and the Toymaker back to the city ill-advisedly early. So from his point of view they could at least make amends for this mess now that it affected him and the House.
He turned to the serving-boy who had been stood stock still for at least a half-hour by the doorway. He uttered four words that catapulted the boy into action.
“Bring me that priest”. He bit his tongue after saying it, however he could see no other way of getting things to happen without dealing with Antiva again. He stabbed the fork into the arm of his chair, rose, adjusted his swords and swung his cape majestically around his shoulders before heading off to his first appointment of the day.


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